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3 Tips From an Ultrarunner to Help Achieve Your Next Big Goal

We’ve all been there. That feeling you get when you finally build the courage to set a goal that excites you.

But there’s one problem… LIFE!

If it’s not your fear of failure stopping you dead in your tracks, or perhaps a pessimistic friend, it will end up being something else. And slowly but surely, the list of obstacles seems to pile on as you start to doubt if the goal is even worth it.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that most people end up giving up on their dreams and goals before even getting started… and for good reason… being disciplined through long periods of time is no simple task. Take it from someone who had to train for over a year 5 times a week, running in total over 1000 miles before attempting my goal of completing a non-stop 100-mile run to end up having to throw in the towel after 50 miles. But more on that in another blog.

Being able to commit through the training was by far the most rewarding experience. Through that grueling journey, I picked up a few key tricks to help achieve my goals which I still use to this day in every aspect of my life.

So without any further delay, here are 3 tips to help set and achieve your goals that I learned from training for an ultra-marathon.

1. Get an Accountability Buddy

Show me your company, and I will show you your future

I can honestly say, that being able to convince my brother to join me on my crazy ultra-marathon journey was one of the best things that could have happened.

Little did I know back then, but I was able to reap all the benefits of having an accountability buddy. I cannot undersell the impact that having an accountability partner had on my ability to stay focused and disciplined throughout the process.

I got pretty lucky with my brother, but what exactly should you look for in an accountability partner. Ideally, this is someone who shares a similar goal to yours rather than just a cheerleader standing on the sidelines. It remains true, that if you want to get to know someone, you get to know the people he or she is surrounded by. Always aim to surround yourself with people who possess qualities you admire and wish to possess for yourself… in short you are looking for someone better than you in the areas where you want to improve. So it is crucial you spend the time if you decide to get an accountability buddy to indeed make the right decision.

Important to note, that an accountability buddy is not the same as a mentor. The important difference is that your accountability buddy is ideally not your senior but more so a colleague, friend, partner, sibling, etc.

Here’s a quick checklist of questions to ask yourself to help choose your accountability buddy:

  1. Do I feel comfortable sharing my goals and aspirations with this person?

  2. Does this person share the same or a higher level of ambition than me?

  3. Do I have a strong relationship and trust with this person?

In the end, whether you decide to get an accountability buddy or not depends solely on you and your preference. You can choose to have something more formal with weekly meetings booked in your calendar or something more informal like a daily check-in. Test out different options and choose the process that best fits your needs.

2. Control your environment

Build your environment to align with your goals

This is deceptively simple yet has the potential to make a huge impact on your overall productivity and as a result, will help you get to your goals faster and with greater success.

Here’s a question for you… how can you eat a bag of chips at night if you don’t have any in your kitchen… easy answer… you can’t.

You can notice that in life, it is your environment that often influences what you do with your time. It’s easy not to get distracted by TV if you simply don’t have a TV. Or it’s very hard to watch meaningless youtube videos if you set a time limit on your phone.

There are a million ways how you can apply this concept. So take the time to identify your biggest time wasters that eat away at your productive tasks and leave you unfulfilled and disappointed. Go room by room and see if you can change anything to help make your life easier by reducing the amount of willpower needed to stay focused and on track.

For example, if you want to make sure that you don’t check your phone the first thing in the morning then make sure to leave your phone out of reach from your bed or even a different room. Get creative, and most importantly run mini-experiments with yourself. Note the change and move forward accordingly.

Your environment has a big impact on what you end up doing during your day… make sure you progressively build it so that it helps you achieve your daily goals and habits rather than making it more difficult.

3. Work backwards

It’s easier to break something down than to have to build it up

Since completing my first few ultramarathons, I have always made it a habit to always work backwards whenever I plan for a goal. While for running this seems pretty obvious, as you plan your training around when your race day is… this happens to be a less obvious task when it comes to other types of goals… but just as powerful.

While you start to plan out your goals, start with the desired end results in mind first, and make sure to make it as detailed as you can. From there, break down the hypothetical steps you believe would be required to accomplish this end goal along with a timeline for each component.

Remember the more detailed you are here, the more this will help you portray a realistic path to your goals and help maximize the chances of you accomplishing them. Although we are not always able to achieve our goal within the set timeline, we constantly strive to minimize the difference between the target end state and the real end state. In my case, my target end state was to run 100 miles, but instead, I was only able to run 50. Even though this can be considered a failure, this is something I am pretty proud of considering that less than 2 years prior I had never run more than 5km.

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” ― Norman Vincent Peale.

Acknowledge your progress and celebrate your milestones along the journey. You have to fall in love with the process, so make sure you build one that you believe will give you your best shot at reaching your goal, whether it be a daily habit or a weekly task.

Now it’s just a question of staying disciplined along the process… luckily you have your accountability buddy for that;)

If you’ve made it this far and still have a few questions, are interested in learning more, or want to have a quick chat with me, feel free to reach out through my website

Until next time!

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